On Saturday, I went to a blackbox LARP called Before We Wake.
If you ever suspected that someone was directing your dreams, you're absolutely right. That intelligence, known as the Dream Envoy, was who I and the other participants played: the part of your conscious that tries to send you messages through dreams. For a few hours, the Dream Envoys congregated in a collective dream space to design and act out messages for their dreamers. They started in the raw fabric of the Dreaming, weaving new patterns together, producing new impulses, new material; they moved on into the Dreamspace to act out dreams, or discuss and plan them in the Night Café together with other envoys. If it sounds kind of trippy, it's because it was. It was surreal and profound and honest; sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious.
The goal was to, at the end of the night, have staged a dream that would send a message the dreamer would remember upon waking. The message could be anything: "let go of your ex-boyfriend", "deal with your fear of mortality", "you are not alone". We used our own dreams as building blocks. We had kept dream journals before the game, and picked out a couple of them to work with. Next, we distilled them down into everyday objects that served as shorthand for images and emotions. Those objects became the center of new dramas, mixing with those of other dreamers. I'll leave out the particulars, as my dream also became part of others' dreams, and it's private to them as much as mine is private to me.
Recapping a LARP is almost always a futile exercise, because you're post-larp-bluesy and words fail to describe the myriad of encounters, the emotional content, the shared pocket of reality one creates. "I crawled around in a blackbox theatre dressed all in white, and also I was a heron in a linen suit, and also myself dreaming." Right? I did my best.
Before We Wake is the best scenario I've been to in many years: extremely well-run, well-written, and with an ensemble that said "yes" to everything. It doesn't get better than in this particular corner of the Dreaming. I want to go back in.